Why does my child stutter?

Eastside SpeechFAQs, Stuttering

reasons why children stutter

Children may stutter due to a number of reasons. Often, children who stutter have a family history of stuttering. Around 70% of Children who stutter have a family history, but researchers feel that the incidence is likely to be much higher than this. 

Some recent studies have reported that some adults who stutter have differences in the areas of their brain responsible for speech- however it is not clear if these differences caused the stuttering or were present because of the stutter.

Stuttering often becomes worse when children or adults are tired, unwell, excited, or doing a cognitively demanding activity like retelling a past event or explaining something. Sometimes adult’s stuttering can be worse when speaking with unfamiliar people, public speaking or when they are on the phone. 

Whilst the exact cause may not always be entirely clear, it is important for parents to know what DOESN’T cause stuttering. Stuttering is not caused by problems with a child’s IQ, poor parenting, or anxiety. As far as we are aware, there has not been any research on the link between IQ and stuttering, however our observation has been that many bright, articulate children come to our clinic for help with stuttering. Anxiety has been shown to make stuttering worse, but does not cause it. In fact, it is common that the opposite is true- if left untreated, stuttering can cause anxiety and other psychological challenges. 

It is important  to have your child’s speech reviewed by a speech pathologist as soon as  you notice that they are stuttering, regardless of the possible cause of your child’s stutter.

At Eastside Speech we use the Lidcombe Program to treat children’s stuttering. All of our therapists are trained and experienced in this program. For more information about our Stuttering Therapy for Children get in touch with one of our Speech Pathologists today on 02 9313 8980.


Bloodstein, O, & Bernstein Ratner, N. (2008). A handbook on stuttering (6th ed). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar.Cieslak, M., Ingham, R. J., Ingham, J. C., & Grafton, S. T. (2015). Anomalous white matter morphology in adults who stutter. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 58, 268–277.